In its ideal use, the law allows courts to “involuntary commit someone who has an alcohol or substance use disorder,” especially if there is a chance the addict could cause harm to themselves or others due to their active addiction.1 The problem is, many addicts are not sent to addiction treatment centers when they are committed to treatment under Section 35, but rather to special housing in correctional facilities if there are not enough beds at treatment programs.2 Additionally, forcing someone into treatment undermines the effectiveness of the treatment process. Our team explores how Section 35 may be more harmful than helpful.
So, how effective is Section 35’s approach to treating addiction in Massachusetts? Our drug and alcoholism treatment near Boston believes in true treatment for addicts, not incarceration or time in jail. Criminalization of addiction harms addicted individuals and the communities in which they live. Though Section 35 does not automatically incarcerate addicts, the housing in jails or similar facilities is not conducive to supporting the recovery process. Involuntary incarceration for addicts and forced treatment are both dangerous paths that don’t allow the addicted individual to choose their own path of recovery.
Though many families would love to force their loved one or children into addiction treatment to help them get sober, recovery is not something that can be forced on a person. If they do not want to get sober, they will not stay sober. Effective treatment starts with a willingness to participate in recovery.
While Section 35 has good intentions of helping those in need get support for recovery, forcing people into treatment will not help them get and stay sober. Forced treatment can feel less constructive than voluntary treatment, which is why it’s crucial to give people a choice and allow them to decide their path of recovery.If you are seeking support in helping your loved one begin treatment, contact our addiction treatment center in Massachusetts. We offer intervention planning services to help you begin the process of helping them into recovery.